How to go speed dating

On Sunday night, after a weekend of relationship dramas and resultant heavy drinking, we decide that we should give our livers a break and wind down with a quiet meal at my flat. I offer to cook lasagne and the five of us plan to stay in with maybe one glass of wine (TOPS), and a load of chick flicks.

At 7pm I receive a phone call from Megan. The very-recent-ex has just returned all my stuff and Carly and I have run out of booze, so we’re coming round. When I get there I want to see you with a glass in your hand, and wine dribbling down your face.

So much for sobriety and chick flicks. Home-made lasagne and a few bottles of wine are consumed. At about 10pm there is a call for something more exciting to happen. Well, it’s karaoke night at Antica Traccia … There’s a short break for make-up repairs and then we’re clattering down the stairs and on our way to sing our hearts out for the evening.

The pub is looking very quiet when we arrive. This is a bit disappointing, but at least we’ll have plenty of opportunity to hog the microphones. However, hang on a minute – the stage isn’t set up. And there are far more people in the room than would be covered by the number of cars outside. What’s going on? The owner comes up to us. Do you want a table for Cupido? The penny drops. Far from being karaoke night, it’s speed dating. Oh. My. God. We chicken out of joining in and head into the wine bar next door. A friend of Liv’s comes in to say hello. He’s clearly embarrassed and is trying to hide the fact that he’s here for date night. Oh, is that what’s happening? I had no idea … Despite his protests, however, he goes straight into the other room and bags a table. That’s settled it: we’re going in, and we’re on a mission to meddle.

On entering the room, we see that every table has a number. The idea behind the evening is simple: you have a pile of slips of paper on which you can write messages. On the back, there’s a box to write your own table number, and that of the table you want to contact. Two smiling girls circulate around the tables passing messages on potential lovers’ behalfs. It’s all very anonymised, meaning that you don’t have to talk to anyone directly if you don’t want to.  This is good on one hand, but does open up the system to abuse, which we proceed to take great advantage of with Liv’s friend. He holds his own like a good ‘un.

As always, I do these things so that you don’t have to. However, for those of an intrepid nature, I offer below a list of handy hints. The 5 Dos and Don’ts of Cupido, if you will. Buona caccia, i miei amori …

DO tell the girls you want to chat up that they’re cute.

DON’T tell them you’re broke and they’re going to have to buy the beers.

DO make interesting conversational gambits to differentiate yourself from the rest of the rabble.

DON’T, when writing said clever conversational snippets, write your own table number in the ‘to’ box, or your witty words will come straight back to you. (Like ours did. Oops.)

DO describe the girl that you’re particularly interested in so that she knows you’re messaging her specifically.

DON’T, when she fails to respond, then try your luck with the girl next to her. Desperation is never a good look.

DO bring a friend (or two, or four …) for moral support.

DON’T bring a non-single friend. This is Calabria, and everyone is watching. On going to the loo part of the way through the evening, I was accosted by two very excited Italian girls, asking about a man we’d been talking to on the table next to us. He had been asking us about English lessons, but it turns out he has a girlfriend at home. Who is a friend of said excited Italian girls. Who were SO going to go home and report on the fact that her boyfriend was playing Cupido …

Finally, DO have fun and DON’T take it too seriously. Number of actual hook-ups? Big fat zero. Entertaining moments in the evening? Far too many to count.

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About Kate Bailward

Kate Bailward is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
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5 Responses to How to go speed dating

  1. There used to be a place similar in London many, many years ago. It was a restaurant, the food was pretty awful but it was always packed. Every table had a telephone and a number. And on the wall there was a big display showing which telephones were in use. It was such fun trying to work out which guy it was calling your table and chatting up your friend…just good harmless fun!

  2. Katja says:

    OOh, that sounds brilliant. I wonder if it still exists? The Kit Kat Klub in ‘Cabaret’ is a telephone club – when I was at school I directed it, and got terribly excited about props. I was absolutely dying to have old-fashioned bell telephones with lights that flashed when the phone rang, but the stage crew came up with some lame excuse about it being far too fiddly and difficult to engineer. I mean, honestly. How hard could it have been to rig up some wireless connectors in a school theatre in the mid-nineties? They clearly had no sense of adventure. Lightweights. ;)

  3. saretta says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun! :-)
    saretta´s last post ..Discover Puglia

  4. Katja says:

    Certainly was, Sara! I see you’re in my old neck of the woods. Give my love to Puglia … :)

  5. Pingback: My 7 Posts – Driving Like a Maniac

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